Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book review: Presentation Zen Design

By none other than Garr Reynolds, of course.

This follow-up to the brilliant Presentation Zen (if you haven't bought it by now - what the hell are ya waiting for?) deals more with the practical aspect of making presentations, and so touches on a bit of design principles such as effective use of white space. The book is a veritable treasure trove of helpful sections, including effective use of fonts (brilliant), which I personally found to be very enlightening. Any version of Office is going to be loaded with 4.5 gajillion fonts, so a primer and a set of matching fonts for different occasions sure helps out a lot. Mucho props.

There's also a section of working with colors and selecting color schemes. While Nancy Duarte's Slide:ology contains more material on the nuts and bolts of color schemes, Garr's book more than makes up for it by detailing how you can extract color schemes from photographs, thereby taking advantage of the master colorist - Mother Nature. This is followed up by describing how to incorporate pictures - and video - in your presentation in order to more effectively communicate your story - including some photography tips by Scott Kelby.

Towards the end of the book, there are also some sample slides from various designers (Duarte Design being strongly represented) to show the reader how this can be incorporated in real life. This even includes some slides from a field not too distant from what I'm doing.

Overall, this is a great book and a worthy follow-up to Presentation Zen. I've only got two minor complaints; one being that the book appears at times to be somewhat on the heavy side with respect to Zen lessons. The other complaint is that it would've been great with an expanded section on how to use animation. Then again - that's where Nancy Duarte's book really shines.

Buy two copies - one for the office and one to keep around the house.


Anders said...

Hey, you managed to get through this book before me. I haven't started on it yet. Nearly finished one book, but have yet another in the pipeline before it's Zen-time.

Wilhelm said...

Finished this almost a week ago now..

Have you finished the Duarte book yet?

Anders said...

No. I haven't started the Duarte book either. Don't have time for more then a chapter or so each day, so it's a slow progress with my reading. And I have a lot of book to cover. :D

Wilhelm said...

The slow-reading course you took really has paid off, huh? :-)